• Book

Innovations in home energy use: A sourcebook for behavior change


Southwell, B., Doran, E. M. B., & Richman, L. S. (Eds.) (2016). Innovations in home energy use: A sourcebook for behavior change. (RTI Press Publication No. BK-0015-1512). Research Triangle Park, NC: RTI Press. DOI: 10.3768/rtipress.2015.bk.0015.1512


As a collection of essays that explore innovations to encourage reduction in homeowner energy use, this volume reflects a confluence of ideas and initiatives rather than a narrow look at what a single, particular line of academic literature suggests might be possible to shape homeowner behavior. Not only do the contributors represent a wide array of institutions and backgrounds, but the very intellectual infrastructure that encouraged and allowed the summit that inspired this book itself represents a conscious effort to facilitate multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary collaboration for the purpose of addressing salient societal concerns. With this volume, we hope to provide a source of ideas for behavior change that will appeal to a range of people charged with curbing residential energy use through communication-based intervention.

Author Details

Brian Southwell

Brian Southwell, PhD, directs the Science in the Public Sphere program in the Center for Communication Science at RTI International. His large-scale evaluation work has spanned behaviors and audiences, including cancer prevention and screening promotion efforts, national campaigns to discourage drug and tobacco use, efforts to bolster television news coverage of science, and various state-level campaigns. He also has studied public understanding of energy and related topics. Dr. Southwell holds faculty appointments at Duke University (through Duke’s Energy Initiative) and at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and also hosts the public radio show "The Measure of Everyday Life" on WNCU.

E.M.B. Doran

Elizabeth M. B. Doran is an environmental engineer and has been a doctoral candidate in Earth and Ocean Sciences at Duke University throughout the time this book was written. At Duke, she also led the steering committee for the Project LIT HoMES Summit that led to this book.

L.S. Richman

Laura S. Richman is a faculty member in Psychology and Neuroscience at Duke University. As a faculty participant in the Bass Connections project at Duke, she co-led Project LIT HoMES with Dr. Southwell.


“Residential energy use is a function of both technology and human behavior, and meeting the climate change mitigation challenge is going to require important changes in household energy use behavior. Innovations in Home Energy Use offers a wide-ranging selection of different ideas relative to this challenge. The editors have drawn from professionals in a variety of fields, and the result is an interesting mix of voices and perspectives that should be accessible to a number of different audiences.” —Karen Palmer, PhD, Research Director and Senior Fellow, Resources for the Future “Innovations in Home Energy Use: A Sourcebook for Behavior Change provides a variety of individual perspectives on how home energy use patterns may be influenced, recognizing consumers’ perception of home energy use economics, their interaction with energy technology, and their general regard for the value of energy consumed. The collective essays convey a sense of great opportunity for future home energy conservation related to changing energy use behavior.” — David A. Doctor, President & CEO, E4 Carolinas “Initiated by an idea incubator summit, Innovations in Home Energy Use draws from a democratic model of discourse that employs perspectives from stakeholders representing multiple arenas who came together in conversation in a workshop environment. Engaging to a broad audience of academics, environmentalists, builders, realtors, and energy and housing policy professionals, Innovations in Home Energy Use: A Sourcebook for Behavior Change achieves its goal of being a foundational tool for a cooperative approach toward reducing household energy use as part of a sustainable vision of the future.” — Mishel Filisha, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority